How I Poly…

A friend of mine is visiting, and this morning, we were talking about how poly groups come together because we poly folk want to sometimes be around and talk with people who aren’t monogamous.

Oh.

Wait.

Let me rephrase that.

Poly groups come together most often because they want people WHO THINK LIKE THEM.

In fact, one of the hallmarks of poly groups, like kink groups, religious groups, political groups, hell, even dog breed groups, is that people join them because they want to hear their own ideas and thoughts echoed back to them.

Because they want to be around people LIKE THEM.

And in poly groups, this means that depending on the makeup of the leadership and majority of members (or in-power cliques) the poly that is tacitly approved of is often a very specific form of poly that tsk-tsks at others for not being as “enlightened.”

Someone once wrote this:

“You guys would save yourselves a lot of time and trouble if you would say, ‘One of my tests of a woman is going to be to examine whether I am comfortable opening myself up to her emotionally. And I am going to sleep only with women who pass that test.’”

And this is pretty much how I poly, with few exceptions.

And I mentioned this this morning (in my own words without realizing that it was on my schedule to write today) in response to a discussion about poly people who get pissy about others in don’t-ask-don’t-tell relationships, or anyone who doesn’t want kitchen table poly, or solo poly people, or whatever…

And that’s OK.

Except that, the way I see it is that when you shame people for doing things their own way, the way that makes them happy, you are becoming the people you’re avoiding by creating such a group.

You are becoming the bullies.

So, while I like the way I poly, I don’t require it for anyone else. Not even those I relationship with, in most cases.

As long as what we do together works for us, I’m good.

What about you?

Polyamory for Black Rose, Washington, DC

Black Rose

I’m teaching another Tuesday night educational for Black Rose!

Poly-Wha? Ethical Non-Monogamy For Everyone

Polyamorous, open, swing, poly-fidelous, monogamish… so many ways to say that you enjoy ethical nono-monogamy, or more than traditional one-on-one coupling.

But what does it all mean, and how does it all work?

Poly Relationships

In this class, we’ll discuss labels, relationship patterns, communication, communication, and communication.

It’s all about finding what works for you and your partners, once you step out of the relationship box and into ethical non-monogamy.

 

Poly Is Not Just “Yes!” (Poly Is Not, Part XVI)

Polyamory Is Not... A Series

So many see polyamory as saying “Yes!” to more people, more sex, more dates, more playtime.

And it is.

But it’s not JUST saying yes.

Because every yes is also a no.

When I say “Yes,” to a new partner, I’m potentially saying “No,” to the following:

  • My alone time.
  • My time with friends.
  • My time with existing partners.

And so on.

Which is not a BAD thing, in itself. Because sometimes it’s worth it to choose one person over another, to explore new potential connections over existing ones.

Sometimes it’s not.

Which is where the term “polysaturated” comes into play. Totally committed. No room for another, no matter how much I want to try, because those I already care about need what I have, and more importantly, I need it, too.

From and with them.

Polyamory can be a challenge.

When I’m planning travel or fun or business commitments, I weight those decisions against the people in my life that I already enjoy connections to.

I think on the things I do for them that make them happy, and those they do for me that fulfill me and bring me joy. These are some of the things I say no to when I add another partner, travel a lot on business, work 18 hour days and more.

Not just because of the actual time spent on each other those things, but because of the mental load added outside of those hours in thinking about, planning, and preparing for them.

It’s also saying no to: watching more Netflix, Facebook time, iPhone games/time wasters… things I’m often quite happy to say no to.

If I think about it.

And that’s what polyamory means. When we say yes to more people, more activities, and more… more…

We CHOOSE what to say no to that does not add enough value to our lives.

Relationship Anarchy Has The BEST Ideas!

A venn diagram with two circles overlapping. And arrow pointing to the overlap says, "The sweet spot for friendship, love, romance, sexytimes, etc."

Now, don’t get me wrong. Relationship Anarchy are not the only way to do it right, and in fact, many practitioners probably screw things up at least as much as the national average.

I’ve written before that polyamory is not for everyone. And I mean it. Some people are inclined to be monogamous, and that’s cool. Some are not. That is also cool.

It’s about finding what works best for you and your partner(s).

So, back to some of these relationship anarchy core ideas.

Unlike many might believe from just hearing the term bandied about here and there in polyamory and other circles, it’s not an “anything goes” philosophy where what you do is all about you and blind to the effect on others.

Not at all. There are commitments and love and drama and fun and… well, let be a bit more clear, and just dive into it.

Put Yourself First

One of the core tenets of relationship anarchy is to put yourself first. Not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that honors the needs YOU have and allows you to help others meet their needs as well.

Romance Is Not Greater Than Friendship (or vice-versa)

Yesterday, I answered a call for sources for an article about why people might want to keep developing their friendships once they have a significant other. Like that’s a question that needs to be answered.

But even is that’s a no-brainer for you as it has been for me, you might still (like I have in the past) be putting your romantic relationship first pretty much always.

Relationship anarchists allow relationships to grow based on connection, not just on the concepts of sex and romantic love. Friend may often (and continually) take precedence over some romantic or sexual lovers, and that’s OK.

It also means that doing the things with friends we might normally do for/with lovers, like having a “date” night for connection, complimenting them, and being physically (not necessarily sexually) affectionate is OK, and lifts us up with companionship.

Relationship Anarchy Examines WHY

Why this relationship? Why this step?

The default relationship pattern we see in most of our culture has been given a moniker: The Relationship Escalator, because an escalator only goes one way:

  • Meet
  • Date
  • Commit
  • Marry
  • Kids

And so on…

Relationship anarchy chooses each step, and also makes the point that it is also perfectly acceptable to step back to a previous relationship style, or sideways into another, not just go blindly forward.

What about THIS person calls me to THIS relationship style?

Set Personal Boundaries (and keep them)

Relationship anarchy is more focused on personal boundaries in relationships, rather than rules.

Healthy personal boundaries are a positive focus.

“I choose this path for me,” rather than, “You’re not allowed to do that.”

It’s finding the sweet spot (see above), and realizing that two people will never FULLY overlap, but that OK. Awesome, even. You have things you enjoy together, and things that you enjoy apart.

Recognizing that allows people to grow and thrive as individuals, even within couplehood or polyhood.

The Takeaway

Again, I’ll point out that I’m not advocating one relationship style over another.

I’m saying that some of the precepts of RA can be valuable to any relationship style, and can help you grow as a single, a couple, or a group.

Poly-Wha? Ethical Non-Monogamy For Everyone

Polyamorous, open, swing, poly-fidelous, monogamish… so many ways to say that you enjoy ethical non-monogamy, or more than traditional one-on-one coupling.

But what does it all mean, and how does it all work?

In this class, we’ll discuss labels, relationship patterns, communication, communication, and communication.

It’s all about finding what works for you and your partners, once you step out of the relationship box and into ethical non-monogamy.

Polyamorous Faithfulness & Communication

Faithful

This Thought Catalog article on faithfulness was brought to my attention recently, and I read it with both agreement and a few feelings of “ick.”

Agreement in that what is being said actually rings true for SOME situations, and I can see why the article was written the way it was.

The icks were for the WON TWOO WAY™-ness of it all, and the definite bias towards chiding men for their crappy behavior.

Ewww. Seriously. Continue reading “Polyamorous Faithfulness & Communication”

On External Influence To A Relationship…

An m/w couple is cuddling on the couch, while another woman looks on with a dangerous expression.

@TheDemonPrince commented in an earlier writing posted on FetLife:

I have found this an eye opening experience in that very few people seem to give a shit about how they can impact someone else’s relationship.

That actually makes me sad to read.

It’s hard to explain why, from my perspective, because the comment is obviously written from a completely different perspective than the one I have about relationships, but let me see if I can try.

TLDR

Whosoever acts against me is held accountable for their actions. Never a third party.

Continue reading “On External Influence To A Relationship…”

Poly Is Not Non-Stop Orgies (Poly Is Not, Part XV)

Illustration from De Figuris Veneris by Édouard-Henri Avril overlaid with a dark screen and a restricted sign on top.

Although, for some people, it may be orgies once in a while.

It’s not dating many multiples of blissful, exciting people. Except for when it is.

It’s not never being lonely. It’s often not being lonely. Sometimes it’s even needing space, and being alone.

It’s not jetsetting around the world footloose and fancy free. Sometimes it is.

It’s more often figuring out childcare and working around busy work schedules and life…

Just multiplied in complexity. Continue reading “Poly Is Not Non-Stop Orgies (Poly Is Not, Part XV)”

Poly Is Not Fair (Poly Is Not, Part XIV)

Polyamory Is Not... A Series

Oh, we do our best to even things out, but just as life is inherently unfair, so are polyamorous relationships.

Uh, yeah, so are monogamous relationships. However, practicing poly (or opening up to poly after monogamy) REALLY highlights the unfairness of it all and imbalances that can often seem easier to work with, when it’s just two of you.

For example:

In any partnership, there is usually one person who has the edge in attractiveness.

And I don’t just mean physically, although there is often that, too. I mean the whole attractiveness package:

  • looks
  • charm
  • sex appeal
  • popularity
  • presentation
  • sense of humor
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity

And so on… Continue reading “Poly Is Not Fair (Poly Is Not, Part XIV)”